Pressing ahead with its global expansion plan, bitcoin and ether exchange Gemini, founded by the Winklevoss brothers, has opened shop to users in Japan and the Republic of Korea.
In an announcement, yesterday, Gemini President Cameron Winklevoss wrote:
As of today, registered customers in the Lands of the Rising Sun and the Morning Calm can trade bitcoin and ether using the Gemini exchange.
Registered users are now enabled to transact with limited trading pairs of the two primary cryptocurrencies. More specifically, users will be able to buy BTC with USD or ETH and sell BTC for USD or ETH. Similarly, ETH can also be bought with USD or BTC and sold for USD or BTC.
The announcement does not include any hint of order books involving the Japanese Yen or the South Korean Won and it remains to be seen if the two regional currencies are to be enabled in the future. To facilitate trading, Gemini will accept USD wire transfers from users’ banks in Japan or South Korea.
Gemini’s expansion into Japan comes at a time when the country has made notable strides to ease regulatory and economic burdens on bitcoin and its industry in recent times.
Earlier this year, the Japanese legislature passed a bill to mandate the regulation of virtual currency exchanges in the country, a move that was welcomed by digital currency operators. Earlier this year, Japan’s cabinet also passed the bills that sought to deem virtual currencies, like bitcoin, as having similar functions of fiat money, essentially deeming digital currencies as equivalents to their fiat counterparts.
Another regulatory sanction that saw bitcoin transactions levied an 8% ‘consumption tax’ is set to come to an end in Japan, bringing further relief to bitcoin adopters and digital currency exchanges in the country.
Meanwhile, South Korea is also pushing ahead with Fintech initiatives by laying the systemic groundwork required to spread the digital currency ecosystem in the country.
Gemini’s Global Growth
New York-based digital currency exchange Gemini’s international expansion effort began earlier this year. Canada was the first step beyond its borders, in early June 2016 before the exchange commenced operations in the United Kingdom.
Despite being based out of New York, Gemini is exempted from requiring a BitLicense due to its stature as a regulated fiduciary. Furthermore, Gemini operates as a chartered limited liability trust, exempting it from requiring to operate under money-transmitter licenses in individual states in the United States.
More recently, the Winklevoss brothers have sought to gain approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list their bitcoin exchange-traded fund [ETF] to BATS Global Markets, the second largest U.S. equities market operator.
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